December Blog Goals

December Blog Goals

I spent most of November focusing on my pregnancy and getting through each day so I blogged as much as I could but my work reflected my lack of attention. My blog numbers went down but my Pinterest views have been increasing since joining some group boards. For the rest of my social media, some numbers went up a few and a some went down a few. I really enjoyed my vacation savings series and starting the DIY gift series which seems to be a hit with my readers.

Here is how my numbers compared from October to November

Blog Stats:

October Page views: 3.3K                             November Page views: 2.7K

October Visitors: 2.1K                                  November Visitors: 1.8K

October Likes: 41                                          November Likes: 41

October Comments: 164                              November Comments: 83

October Most Popular Post: Setting & Keeping A Vacation Budget

November Most Popular Post: Hungarian Walnut Kiffle Cookie Recipe with Printable #feedmefriday

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Social Media Numbers

October Instagram Followers: 825                            November Instagram Followers: 838

October Facebook Likes: 896                                      November Facebook Likes: 894

October Pinterest Followers: 642                               November Pinterest Followers: 648

October Pinterest Daily Viewers: 1322                     Nov. Pinterest Daily Viewers: 2208

October Twitter Followers: 2400                                November Twitter Followers: 2404

October Google Plus: 22                                               November Google Plus: 20

October Stumbleupon: 55                                      November Stumbleupon: 55

money-saving

Blog Income: WordAds continues to be my only income so far with each month increasing by a few dollars but not enough to cash out yet.

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Here are my goals for December :

Blog Goals:

Mondays will continue to be my day off  until the baby arrives which then will turn into Mom Mondays and Saturday Baby Day will go away. Tuesdays will be Holiday DIY gifts for kids and adults. (Who doesn’t love homemade gifts??) Wednesdays (besides today) will continue to feature gifts from my online Boutique. Thursdays will continue to be Thankful Thursdays and ways or things to be thankful for in our lives. Fridays will continue to be Feed Me Fridays. Saturdays will continue to update everyone on my Pregnancy and maternity life, until Evelynne arrives at least. Sundays will continue with ways to save for a family vacation but will focus on Disney World savings.

My goal for December is basically to get through the month until the baby comes which could be any day now.

Social Media Goals: 

I am working on increasing my Instagram followers, likes and comments through a few different groups and pods. I need to gain back some of the followers that I lost on Facebook and increase my other followers as well. I really don’t know how much I will get accomplished between the holidays and the baby coming.

Income Goals: 

I have joined a few affiliate and influencer sites to help with my attempt to gain sponsorship. I do have my first Influencer box on its way which is unpaid but the products will be great to review. I am really hoping that I will get to start reviewing baby products when she makes her arrival!

I know that this is the season to create gift guides but instead of featuring those gifts on my blog, I am featuring them on my Facebook Page through my Amazon affiliates account. I am hoping to grab my first AA sale soon.

I am still finding ways to increase my income and I am so thankful for the guidance of the Mom Bloggers Tribe because I would be so lost without their help and support. Each day is a growing experience and I can’t wait to grow with all of you!

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Thankful for My Baby Mom Group

When I first became pregnant with this baby, I found different baby apps to chart my symptoms in case I had another miscarriage. One of the apps (can’t remember which one) had a forum with a group just for moms due in January 2018. There were a TON of moms and some of the topics were a little off the wall and crazy. A couple of moms talked about creating a Facebook secret group for some of us to chat and weed out the craziness of the app forum group. I was all about joining this Facebook group!

The group was created when I was about 6 weeks pregnant and as the weeks went on the group grew. Since most of us that started in the group were due in the beginning of January, we began to welcome those that were due at the end of the month. As we became closer as a group, the decision was made to cap the group off at 200 moms which seems to be working for us because we all come from different states or countries (England, France, Canada and Sweden!), from different backgrounds and different experiences. Some of us are older moms, some have more than one child, some are first time moms but we all help and chat with each other. We started to become a family!

We had one incident of drama (which is awesome considering its a group full of hormonal pregnant women!) when some of the moms that were medical professionals (nurses mostly) went crazy over discussions about vaccinations. Instead of listening to what the others were trying to say or having an adult discussion, they basically threw a 2-year-old temper tantrum and started their own group which was supposed to be a medical fact based group. Since they left, we all grew so much closer.

We had a set of twins born first because it was medically necessary for their survival. We have had 2 other babies born prematurely. All 4 baby boys are getting the medical attention they need are fighting hard to push through each day a little stronger. We love seeing the updates the moms give us. We cherish the Ultrasound pictures we all share, the updates, the questions and discussions. We even started a Fairy Godmother exchange to give a little gift to each other for our babies. I can’t wait for my mom to get the custom outfit I had made for her little one!

As we all get another day closer to our babies coming, we talk everyday and sometimes all day. Being on bed rest, they have become my go to peeps to talk to throughout the day or when I need to vent about my pregnancy, husband or life. Some of the moms are scheduled to be induced or have c-sections in the next couple of weeks which makes all of this so real that our babies are coming and for some of us so soon.

This group of moms is a group that will keep going long after our babies are born because we have bonded over the past 8 months. I can’t wait to share my experiences with them of raising this little girl and watch all of our babies grow up.

DIY Dollar Store Advent Calendar

see & explore

I grew up enjoying the chocolate filled advent calendars which my kids and have adopted the advent calendar tradition. These advent calendars are hot commodities in my area and sell out very quickly so we have learned to be on the hunt for them. Last week, Danyella and I went into Hobby Lobby and found the calendars…

They wanted $8 for an advent calendar that was smaller than the ones we have bought in the past. No way was I going to pay $8 for cheap chocolate in a cardboard box! That is just absurd inflation when I could make a better one for the same price or cheaper.

So, I headed to my favorite place for cheap crafts…. The Dollar Store! I purchased snowflake printed zip bags, small bags of Danyella’s favorite candies, a pair of socks (she loves penguins), lipsmackers, holiday bracelets and holiday erasers. Plus I had some holiday kisses to use as well. All of these would be fun treats for her to open once a day and better than the overpriced advent calendar. I already had leftover wrapping paper, tape and a cardboard box to cut up and I printed the numbers through my Google Docs account. So I spent a total of $7 plus tax for our DIY advent calendar!

Materials:

wrapping paper

cardboard box (cut into the size/shape you desire)

tape (I preferred double-sided but you can use regular clear tape)

printed numbers 1-24

fun goodies for 24 days

zip lock baggies

Directions:

  1. Create 1-24 and cut each number out than tape them to the bags
  2. Fill the bags with your goodies
  3. Wrap the piece of cardboard with the wrapping paper
  4. Create row with the tape to stick the bags (I created 3 rows starting with 24 at the top and ending with 1)
  5. Press the baggies onto the tape for the kids to peel off each day
  6. Place your advent calendar on display and start on December 1st

Using Savings Apps to Save for Vacation #savingsunday

Week 2 of our saving for your family vacation series is about utilizing the savings apps to your vacation’s advantage. I have posted about using the Ibotta app to save for gift cards but this post is going to feature 4 different apps to help you save for your family vacation.

Some of these apps are completely new to me so I am still learning how to use them but they have definitely added to my family vacation fund. The 4 apps are Shopkick, SavingStar, Checkout 51 and Ibotta (of course hehe).

Starting with Shopkick, this app is one that I have had for a while but never really opened it on a consistent basis until recently. With Shopkick, you have earn “kicks” or points by walking into specific stores, for scanning specific products at these stores and for making purchases (this is where you earn the most kicks). This is basically free money for your vacation just for walking around a store that you are already shopping at! Shopkick pays out through gift cards. They have many different cards to choose from but what will be most beneficial for our family is redeeming for Walmart gift cards and then using the Walmart gift cards to purchase Disney gift cards which can be used all over Disney World or redeemed to go towards our balance for the trip. You can do the same thing for your own vacation for restaurants or stores you may visit on your vacation. The only thing you cannot use a Walmart gift card to purchase is a the prepaid debit cards. Use code SAVE627743 or download http://getsk.co/save627743

The next savings app I have started using is SavingStar. This app is handy if you shop at stores that have loyalty cards because you can upload the rebates to card so they will automatically show up in your SavingStar account after you purchase the item and scan your card. For stores like Target and Walmart, you can scan your receipts for the rebates. Once you hit $5 in rebates, you can transfer your savings into a bank account, PayPal account or onto various gift cards.

The third app that I use is Checkout 51. Similar to SavingStar, you can upload rebates to a loyalty card or receipts for other stores. What I like about this app is that not all rebates are brand specific so just buying veggies or meat can save you money. Once you hit $20 then you can request a cash out which means they will send you a check. Be sure to allow enough time to cash out and deposit into your account for your vacation.

Last on the list is my favorite Ibotta! If you read my previous post about Ibotta, I detail how to use them and how great they are. With the holidays approaching they are offering even more stores both online and in person plus bonuses. Do you know how much you can save with Ibotta? So much money in rebates which can be cashed out to your PayPal or venemo account or redeemed for gift cards. This is always my go to app for rebates because I get the biggest payout. Use my referral code, hytctkm, and you can get a $10 welcome bonus. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/hytctkm

Our weekly update: This week I used ShopRite from Home to use the $10 off code to pay for the service fee and have less headache trying to walk around the store in my current condition. My budget was $175 which with my paper coupons and digital coupons plus some bonus purchase saving bonuses, I brought our bill down to $130! That is $45 for our vacation fund. Plus another $50 in rebates between all my apps (I am waiting to redeem them until it is closer to time I will use them). I had a few FB yard sale group sales so half of the money was $20. Lastly, I had a couple of handmade orders so half of that money totaled $40. Total for the week is $155! Adding that to last week’s savings and we are at $209 so far which is pretty good considering I had a rough week with my pregnancy and school.

Thankful for my Professor #thankfulthursday

The past couple of weeks I have struggled with my Thankful Thursday posts because what I am thankful for didn’t seem genuine. Yes there are material items and lots of people that I thabkful for but how do I write about these things without feeling either materialistic or generic? I was struggling big time.

I went into my speech class one day last week, which I enjoy because my professor always makes class interesting. He started the class out by talking about having passion in life and passion in what you do. I will admit that I lost some of my passion for art lately which turned into frustration and procrastination to get my projects done or even attend my studio classes. This lesson that my speech professor was giving on passion was the wake up call I needed to make a change in my college major and career.

I love art and love being an artist which means it should never be something I dread and I needed to get back to myself. I love my handmade business and have wanted to learn how to really work my business because that is my passion. So, I sat down with my professor who is the academic advisor for the business department and discussed the change I wanted to make.

After reviewing my transcripts and classes, we made a game plan to change my major to business and focus on learning the ins and outs of business. This will allow my to enjoy my art on my time and in my way. I love my art but losing my passion for it is something that’s just not acceptable to me. It has made me wonder if artists shouldn’t be art professor because pushing their own style and agenda isn’t cultivating a budding artist but instead hindering them to reach their full potential.

I am thankful for my professor that woke me up to the fact that my passion is exactly that… my passion and not someone else’s so be happy with my decisions or change them. Life lessons are taught at any age including a 35 year old adult student!

What are you thankful for today?

Saving Your Cash for Vacation Part One of Four #savingsunday

Saving Money for

After many Sundays talking about how to plan your budget for your family vacation, I am going to spend the next 4 Sundays talking about how to squeeze out that extra money for your family vacation. Today, we are going to start with how to use cash instead of debit or credit cards to pay for your in-person purchases and collect the change to save for your vacation fund.

Trust me, I know that convenience of using a card to pay for everything at a store BUT having worked retail for many years, I have dealt with the times that card machines are down. Being on the other side of the counter and explaining that we can only accept cash can lead to many upset customers. This has taught me to keep cash on me and not rely on my cards.

Part of revamping my financial budget was learning to pay with cash because it can be so easy to go over my budget limit. Before I go into a store, I have my list in hand (which I am human and don’t always stick to that list) and my cash that has been alloted for that trip. If I can’t afford to pay for it with that cash in hand then I don’t buy it on that trip.

This is where the saving for your vacation tip comes into play! Whenever you pay with the alloted cash you have budgeted, take the change you didn’t spend and place it in your vacation jar. This has been how I have saved so much money because I have learned to use coupons and find sales to use to my advantage so when I allot $40 for a trip to Walmart for basic essentials and come away with a savings of $10 that goes right into our jar.

We have incorporated this savings skill learning process into Danyella’s schooling as well. Now she will equip herself with a calculator and our budget to see how much more we can save and how much more we can put into the vacation jar. Even if you start doing this with small things like your morning coffee. Say your coffee costs you $3.50 (I am a latte person in the morning) and you have a $5 bill to pay for it. For 5 days you will save $7.50 towards your vacation. Even small savings do add up!

penny

Update on our Family Vacation Jar Week 1:

Since I was extremely sick this week after getting the flu and tdap shots, I was not very active in making/saving/budgeting money. In our cash jar, we have saved $44.76 which is from the system above. Plus, in rebates we earned $9.78 from the apps that I use (more on this on my next savings blog post next Sunday). Unfortunately my other 2 plans needed me to be able to function and that didn’t happen so we fell short of our weekly goal but this is a fresh week and fresh start. Goal: $163 Actual Savings: $54.54

November Blog Goals and October WrapUp

Dad's All, Folks! presentsIt is hard to believe that it is November 1st! Not only is it November 1st but the first Wednesday of November. The time is flying and the holidays are coming which means this baby girl is coming very soon.

Since it is the first Wednesday of the month, we get to have the October wrap up and November goals post right on time. I will admit that I did not hit every goal I had set out but I am still learning how to adjust to dealing with my pregnancy, school, being a mom and wife, full-time student and business creator/owner plus blogging. I didn’t get to blog everyday but I blogged as much as I possibly could every week which still averaged about 5-6 posts a week. My social media numbers all increased and that was the best feeling to see that I am reaching more people/moms every month. Though some of my blog numbers decreased so now I need to find the happy medium between my blog and social media.

Here is how my numbers compared from September to October

Blog Stats:

September Page views: 2.4K                        October Pageviews: 3.3K

September Visitors: 1.5K                             October Visitors: 2.1K

September Likes: 63                                     October Likes: 41

September Comments: 172                         October Comments: 164

September Most Popular Post: French Toast Filled Roll Ups Recipe

October Most Popular Post: Setting & Keeping A Vacation Budget

My Likes and Comments numbers went down again this month so I do need to figure out how to increase those numbers but the views and visitors numbers are increasing which is amazing to see the views increase by over 1000! My Feed Me Friday posts are still one of my most popular along with Teach Me Tuesday and Vacation Planning and Budgeting. It is great to find what works and doesn’t for my blog.

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Social Media Numbers

September Instagram Followers: 641                        October Instagram Followers: 825

September Facebook Likes: 791                                  October Facebook Likes: 896

September Pinterest Followers: 538                           October Pinterest Followers: 642

September Pinterest Daily Viewers: 1022                 October Pinterest Daily Viewers: 1322

September Twitter Followers: 2388                           October Twitter Followers: 2400

September Google Plus: 22                                           October Google Plus: 22

September Stumbleupon: 52                                        October Stumbleupon: 55

For October, I really took a focus on working my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Each saw an increase in followers/likes but Instagram saw the biggest increase which is where I really focused my attention. I really didn’t do much engaging on Google Plus and Stumbleupon as I had set out to do so there is no real increase on either but now November has some new goals!

money-saving

Blog Income:

September WordAds: $2.02              October WordAds: TBD

So the whole WordPress WordAds is a mystery to me but I did earn a couple of dollars which is awesome! I learned it takes at least 2 weeks for them to update this in their system so I have to be patient. I really didn’t do much the Amazon affiliates in October because I am afraid to be to spammy for my readers. I signed up for different influencer sites so that I can begin doing reviews which I would love to focus on baby items when Evelynne arrives.

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Here are my goals for October:

Blog Goals:

Mondays will have become my off days until the baby arrives which then will turn into Mom Mondays and Saturday Baby Day will go away. Tuesdays will be Holiday Teach Me crafts for kids and adults. Wednesdays (besides today) will feature gifts from my online Boutique. Thursdays will continue to be Thankful Thursdays and ways or things to be thankful for in our lives. Fridays will continue to be Feed Me Fridays. Saturdays will continue to update everyone on my Pregnancy and maternity life, until Evelynne arrives at least. Sundays will continue with ways to save for a family vacation.

I want to continue to increase my views and visitors by at least 1000 for the month. I want to increase my likes and comments by 100. I need to find the happy medium in my life to plan out my blog posts, write them and not feel completely overwhelmed in my life with the baby coming and school.

Social Media Goals: 

My Instagram goal is to increase to 1000 followers which I fell a little short in October so November should be easier to reach it with just 175 followers! Same with my Facebook Likes, get 104 likes to reach 1000. The rest of my social media increase goals are to increase by 100. With Pinterest, I need to go through and polish my pins to include hashtags and descriptions. I will be trying to research how to utilize Google Plus and Stumbleupon to their full potential.

Income Goals: 

I have become so envious of other people and their sponsored posts so I am attempting to gain sponsorships for the lifestyle, especially once I have the baby, aspect of my blog. I would to bring to you the good and bad of products to use because you find new products on the market everyday. One thing I have learned with shopping for this baby, there is a million things on the market and reading about other people’s experiences help to make an informed decision for that precious little one in your life. Wish me luck!

I am still finding ways to increase my income and I am so thankful for the guidance of the Mom Bloggers Tribe because I would be so lost without their help and support. Each day is a growing experience and I can’t wait to grow with all of you!

growing